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Rob DreyerRob Dreyer   AFC Rob Dreyer
Wildlife Portraiture
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In a sense, I consider painting as similar to handcrafting a fine piece of furniture. It takes proper planning, materials, technique, tools and careful attention to detail. It also takes time to do it well, as you proceed from one process to the next. You need to let one layer of finish dry before applying the next, and you need many layers to get that deep rich quality.

I always start my paintings with a monchrome underpainting, usually with an imprimatura, and then typically build my paintings by layering color, building form and dimension with each layer. I refer to this as "sculpting" with a brush. This technique is similar to the way they did things before the impressionists took to the field and discovered the joys of alla prima painting.

Only toward the end, after form and structure have been strongly built into in the painting, do I "thicken my paint." This studio approach is a far diiferent thing than my friends who hit the countryside and turn out beautiful plein aire masterpieces in an afternoon. While at times I envy them, I like to create works that take time. They have a different beauty, but a beauty that makes the tedium of their craftsmanship worthwhile.

The medium I prefer to use is Alkyd oil which allows me to apply many coats of thin transparent glazes to achieve my ultimate result in a workable time frame - many more layers than traditional oils would allow me. Alkyd is a true oil that is faster drying and more durable than traditional oil. In a sense, it is similar to applying many coats of tinted varnish which adds depth and luminosity as each layer is applied.

Properly done, layering transparent color also helps to avoid dulling or muddying of colors, and maintains the brightness of the picture and luminosity of the subject. Although I do not want to overstate this depth and luminosity effect, I do believe it is an important technique, along with many others I use, to help me get a portrait subject to “come off the canvas.” The end result from a technique standpoint should be the illusion of form and dimension.

I've been told that my paintings have a dramatic three-dimensional effect and I believe this technique helps to achieve that.

Direct Correspondence to:Rob Dreyer
Rob Dreyer
c/o Dreyer Fine Arts
345 S. Gore Avenue
St. Louis, MO
USA 63119
Tel: 314.640.5635
  Artists for Conservation Group
Email: robdreyer@sbcglobal.net
Home Page: Rob Dreyer's Latest Website
Rob Dreyer Rob Dreyer

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Member of the Artists for Conservation Foundation www.natureartists.com.